Gamato – ” Stay Calm”
By MALUM NALU
ELECTORAL Commissioner Patilias Gamato is appealing for a peaceful and trouble-free general election, in the wake of two incidents of violence during the first week of nomination.
On Monday, a group of men stoned vehicles belonging to Southern Highlands Governor William Powi and Nipa-Kutubu MP Jeffery Komal in Mendi, creating fear among the people.
On Tuesday, a student was shot dead and another man seriously injured when a group of men attacked vehicles carrying Kerowagi MP Camillus Dangma and his supporters to file his nomination in Chimbu.
“Intimidation and violence during the nomination and polling period are completely unacceptable,” Gamato, pictured, said.
“Everyone should be given the right to come forward and be nominated.
“Everyone should be given the right to cast their vote. It’s their democratic right.”
He said his officers would not be threatened by candidates and their supporters.
“It’s unacceptable. We cannot be intimidated,” Gamato said.
“The Government process is bigger than all of us.
“People should not threaten one another, especially the returning officers and assistant returning officers.
“They (people making threats) will be referred to police.”
Gamato said it was disappointing to see some candidates and their supporters instigating violence and intimidation.
“I’m appealing to all candidates and their supporters to ensure that this election is trouble-free,” he said.
“They should take the responsibility upon themselves.”
Gamato said the role of the commission was to set up polling stations and allow people to vote there.
Meanwhile, Gamato is happy with the progress of nominations so far, with the deadline at 4pm today.
Yesterday, he checked the progress of nominations for the National Capital District Regional seat and Moresby North-West seat.
The exact number of candidates contesting the 111 seats in the country should be known by Monday.
“At this point, I would say that half of the people who have filed their Form 29 (bio-data) have been nominated,” Gamato said.
“I’m hoping that they can come forward and complete their nomination forms.
“They have to pay their (K1000) fees first and come to complete their nomination forms.”
Gamato said more than 4000 Form 29 had been filled out by intending candidates and around 2000 had filed their nominations.
“The way things are going, we might not reach that 4000,” he said.
“Some people come and fill Form 29 but we (only) accept nominations when they pay their fees and complete nomination forms before a returning officer.”